By Steve Murrells, Co-op CEO

Mental wellbeing is vitally important, unfortunately one in four people are affected each year by mental health issues. That’s 14 million people in the UK.

Today is World Mental Health Day and we’re announcing our new Co-op charity partnership as part of our commitment to improve mental wellbeing for our colleagues and our communities across the United Kingdom.

It not only feels right that as a Co-op we focus on this issue, but our Community Wellbeing Index has identified mental wellbeing as an area that needs our support. Supporting the issues surrounding mental wellbeing is a key part of our Co-operate 2022 plan and is interlinked to our other key focus areas, spaces and skills, to create healthier and happier communities.

For decades mental health has been under reported and underfunded. It’s also one of those issues people still find difficult to talk about, despite the fact it can affect any of us at any time.

That’s why I’m so pleased to be able to announce that we’re partnering with three amazing charities, which together cover every part of the UK: Mind working in England and in Wales, SAMH working in Scotland and Inspire in Northern Ireland.

Mental health in the workplace

It’s the experiences of our colleagues and our knowledge of local communities that’s led us to make mental health a priority.

There are many things that can affect both mental and physical health, including work. From funeralcare colleagues dealing with bereaved families, to food and logistics colleagues dealing with shift patterns, to financial worries and general work load that can affect all colleagues.

We recognise all of these issues and have put in place policies and practical support, like our Lifeworks employee assistance programme and our financial help through Neyber. Just this week we’ve announced our collaboration with the Samaritans. But we know there’s more we can do and we will.

Mental health in our communities

Bringing people together to share experiences, skills and spaces is really important to encourage better mental health and we’re supporting local causes that do just that. And it’s why we’re campaigning to save endangered public spaces which are essential for connecting people. Partnering with mental health charities is another way we’re stepping-up our commitment to community wellbeing.


With the help of colleagues across the business and through customer donations and sales of our Christmas sandwiches, we’re aiming to raise £6 million for our charity partners over the next 18 months.

So fundraise away, tell your friends, family and our members and customers about our work to support mental wellbeing.

We’ll be sharing fundraising ideas, hints and tips over the course of the partnership, but I know from our past just how amazing you are this.

You can access our colleague fundraising pack here.

As we did with our loneliness and social isolation work, we’ll be doing research to help us understand where we could make the greatest difference with the money we raise. We’ll also be campaigning at a national level to improve how decision-makers understand mental health and what legislative changes could help.

Finally, please know that if you’re struggling with your mental health you’re not alone. If you need support, you can get help today. Call Lifeworks using our confidential 24/7 phone number on 0800 069 8854.

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. I would like to know much more. I have been a volunteer for Folkestone Mind for 17 years both in the local shop and community fundraising.
    Will wait to hear more. I am already in frequent contact with Megan at my Cheriton Co-op. Hope your amazing national link will not override our local application for support
    ps I suffer with bipolar but have learned to manage it with support.🙂

  2. It’s a shame they aren’t bothered about their own staffs mental health and well being. I think it’s ludicrous they promote this the way they have treated me.

  3. With my daughter and Grandson I live with Mental health issues on a day to day basis. I am learning every day and I am now a mental health first aider at West Thurrock depot. I decided to do this to pass on my knowledge to others and also help other colleagues living with circumstances that I can help with. It is brilliant that we as a business are recognising these health problems and putting help in place.

  4. Actively taking hours away from shop workers, causing them to not be able to afford to live, while on short hourly contracts doing 5 day weeks without 2day off in a row for months on end, is a huge cause of depression in your employees

  5. Good to hear we are trying to make a difference. In my experience schools need help to recognise when a pupil needs referral. As a Family we tried to get help for my Grandson all through high school, because he didn’t misbehave they said there was nothing wrong. If only they would listen to the Parent. He has now been diagnosed with Autism and depression at 16. If my Daughter hadn’t fought and kept on at the powers that be I don’t know where we would be today.

  6. It’s great to know we are doing this

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